Twig Ball

Here is the secret to making a twig ball that is actually round, without using a form to shape it.


Age: Adult

Difficulty: Medium

Time Scale: 3 out of 5


Twig-orb-from-willow

Supplies:

small pliable branches in 6 - 8 foot lengths
(willow, dogwood or grapevine)

pruners

scissors

wire

wire cutters

twine

gloves

string of small lights


This looks like it should be easy but the truth is, the beginning stages are NOT. Once the initial shape is done, it is much easier.

After trying different methods for creating a twig ball, I have discovered that the most basic is also the easiest. I tried using an exercise ball to keep the round shape and it didn't work well for me. It was more frustrating than anything and I have decided an exercise ball is more useful for it's intended purpose. EXERCISE! The only thing I exercised trying to use it to make a twig ball was my patience. As for using a beach ball, I'll save that for the beach.

How to make a Twig Ball

Cut about 15, thin, long pliable branches from either willow or dogwood. If you have grapevine that is even better. I don't happen to have that at my disposal, unfortunately. The longer you can cut the pieces, the bigger you can make your ball.

Remove the leaves by running your gloved hand down the branches from the bottom, up to the top.

Try to leave the small side branches intact, removing the leaves from these too.

Peel-leaves-off-branches

Carefully bend one branch into a large circle. Overlap by at least 4 inches and twist the branches around each other. This should hold together on it's own but if it doesn't, you can use a small piece of wire or twine to hold it.


Now, make three more that are close to the same size. This is the time to make sure that you have the branches shaped into a nice round circle.

Stack them, one on top of the other and tie together with a piece of twine. This will be the bottom.

Set this upright, on your work surface and twist, one circle at a time around, so it either sits on the inside or goes over the outside of the others. Center at the top.

Evenly space each one. Hook together at the top center with a piece of twine.

Wrap-branches-into-circles
Put-circles-together

Turn the twig ball around to see if it seems round. If not, push on it until it becomes more round. If it is still hard to keep it rounded, don't worry, as you add more branches, you can continue to coax it into a more ball like shape. If it is being really stubborn and not cooperating, sit on it and squish it. Yes, really! If you suddenly hear a snap, you sat on it too hard. Maybe "squish it" sounds a little harsh! Remove this broken piece and make a new one. Sit more gently next time.

Now take a branch and start wrapping it horizontally around the center of the ball. Weave the branch in and out of the other branches. Overlap the end of the branch around where you began. 

Keep adding branches, now diagonally, until it is filled in as much as you want.

If you want lights, make sure to leave a space big enough to get your hand into, so the lights can be attached to the inside.

Add-more-branches
Wrap-branches-diagonally

Cut off any twine or wire that you used before to hook the branches together. When completed, if wrapped properly, it is no longer needed.

Attach the lights to the inside of the ball. Weave the wire in through the branches, on the inside. Start at the bottom and work around the ball, until you reach the top.

Now choose how you would like to display your twig ball. Use a glass vase or a piece of driftwood, for a stand.

Another option is to tie a loop of twine around the top and hang it up.

Hanging-lit-Twig-Ball

If you leave the lights out of it, you can stuff it with plastic bags and then cover it in moss.

I would like to try filling one with dirt and growing flowers from it. That will have to be a project for next year.

However you choose to display it, the twig ball will make a great addition to your garden.

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